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Friday Bolts: 8.10.18

The 2018-19 NBA schedule will release today at 3 P.M. CT: “NBA TV will unveil the full 2018-19 NBA regular season schedule, including highly-anticipated nationally-televised appearances throughout the entire season, during the NBA TV 2018-19 Schedule Release Show… The show will be streamed on NBA.com and the NBA App. The entire 2018-19 schedule will be posted on the league’s site and official app in conjunction with the show.”

Bill Difilippo (Dime Mag) picks Thunder/Rockets as the most watchable Christmas Day game: “This game will be fun because it’s the Carmelo Anthony revenge game, sure, but stylistically, watching a Thunder team that will have Andre Roberson back and will try to turn this game into a rock fight against a Rockets team that wants to score is going to be fascinating. Additionally, this probably won’t have the same stakes that Sixers-Celtics could have in the postseason, but this might be a matchup of the two teams most well-equipped to challenge Golden State when the playoffs roll around. The Thunder, especially now that Roberson is back and Paul George is here long-term, have the perimeter defenders capable of possibly slowing down the Dubs, plus as you might know, Russell Westbrook really dislikes Golden State. The Rockets, meanwhile, pushed the Warriors to seven games last summer and might have won had Chris Paul not gotten hurt.”

Paolo Ugetti (Ringer) gives Sam Presti love for his performance in Paul George’s free agency mini-series: Breakthrough Performance: Sam Presti, for Paul George: My Journey. The most iconic moment of the offseason wasn’t LeBron James signing with the Lakers, or Kawhi Leonard being traded to the Raptors. It was Presti quoting, without a hint of irony, A Tribe Called Quest in reference to his trade for George last offseason. “I’m a big A Tribe Called Quest fan. There is a line that basically says, ‘Scared money don’t make none.’ I think that’s the case [here]. We wouldn’t have traded for Paul George if we didn’t believe in our community, our organizational values, our ownership,” Presti said during George’s three-part ESPN special documenting his free agency. “If you expect Paul George or any player to have any confidence in you as an organization, you have to demonstrate it yourself. Scared money don’t make none.”

Gerald Bourguet (Hoops Habit) grades the Thunder offseason: “Re-signing Paul George — without him even taking a meeting with his hometown Lakers — was a moral victory for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook and everything OKC is trying to build in the post-Kevin Durant landscape. Keeping Jerami Grant helped lock in the team’s core, and along with Steven Adams, Presti had a foundation to build on. He wasted no time, bringing in Nerlens Noel on a minuscule deal for frontcourt depth and rim protection. Hamidou Diallo could be a decent rookie addition in time, but the true gem trade was the Melo deal. Sure, it cost a protected 2022 first-rounder, but OKC got rid of a player who would’ve been a locker room problem and…well, brought in a player who was about to become a locker room problem in Atlanta. Still though, if Dennis Schroder embraces his new role of sixth man on a contender, he could make the Thunder dangerous. He’s better suited as a backup, but his pick-and-roll manipulation represents a big upgrade over the returning Raymond Felton. The Thunder had no option better than running it back, but they were able to do so with a better supporting cast and without having to worry about Melo or his crippling contract. Grade: A”

Dan Knitzer (Sir Charles in Charge) on the Thunder attempting to squash small ball: “Let’s recount OKC’s preferred starting lineup last season by height, when healthy: Russell Westbrook (6-foot-3); Andre Roberson (6-foot-7); Paul George (6-foot-9); Carmelo Anthony (6-foot-8) and Steven Adams (7-foot). It doesn’t take advanced analytics to see this team was taller than their competition at every position, save perhaps the power forward spot (and Melo made up for height in fat). Any lineup that features Adams is likely to be big. Westbrook is a big point guard, and he plays way bigger than his listed height. With Alex Abrines’ inconsistent offense, and consistently bad defense, it is likely he sits in favor of the longer Terrence Ferguson, or even TLC, at the shooting guard. Regardless, most of the teams best players are big wings and traditional bigs. The only conceivable small lineups this team utilizes are the ones that feature both Dennis Schroder and Westbrook, but even these lineups will be largely offset by the accompanied presence of at least two of Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel, “2Pat”, and Adams.”

Hawks Twitter for the win:

Anendra Singh (NZ Herald) on how Steven Adams can do more for New Zealand basketball by not playing for the national team: “We all have reasons to be pissed at Basketball NZ but it’s not about playing for BBNZ. It’s about playing for our country, the NZ kids who look up to us, our families and our Tallblacks brothers!!!” Webster tweets. It must be a painful thought knowing the presence of Adams can change not only Webster but other incumbent Tall Blacks’ lives in a bid to emulate the feat of coach Tab Baldwin’s 2002 Fiba World Championship side, if not eclipse it. Success will elevate and promote New Zealand beyond hoops heaven but will it override the need for this country to recognise the disparities that prevail between the haves and have-nots at grassroots level in sport? Adams returning home off-season to exchange high fives, between clinics, with children will have more impact than if he were to take the Tall Blacks to the top again. It’s also much bigger than any Basketball NZ snub. Now, Adams is the tallest Tall Black of them all who will never have to slip on the singlet to prove to me he is one.”

Jake Silbert (HypeBeast) looks at the Nike PG 2.5 “Fortnite”: “An upcoming edition of Nike‘s PG 2.5 has been executed in Racer Blue — but that’s not the name given to the shoe by Paul George fans. After the basketball star wore the sneaker to the E3 Fortnite ProAm Tournament in June, the shoe became unofficially known as the “Fortnite” PG 2.5. Despite the name, there aren’t any graphics or markings linking the trainer to the hit multiplayer game; instead, the Racer Blue silhouette sports green accents across the sockliner, continuing to the inside of the tongue. Red lace loops match the medial side Swoosh, while a white sole balances the cool-hued upper. Check out the preview photo uploaded by George below. The sneaker drops on August 15 for $110 USD.”

Around the League: Best and Worst offseason acquisitions around the NBA…. Manu Ginobili and the birth of the Eurostep…. LeBron James will be voicing a Yeti in an upcoming animated film…. Andre Iguodala says KD is the most talented scorer of all-time…. Game Theory and the deep three.